Mental Health First Aid – Thank you Australia

Mental Health First Aid International is an even better import than koalas. The following paragraphs are from its website: “An evidence-based program,” “an 8-hour course that teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis.”

“Mental Health First Aid was created in 2001 by Betty Kitchener, a nurse specializing in health education, and Anthony Jorm, a mental health literacy professor. Kitchener and Jorm run Mental Health First Aid Australia, a national non-profit health promotion charity focused on training and research.”

Mental Health First Aid USA adapted the program of Mental Health First Aid Australia.”

Kookaburra and koala

I learned about Mental Health First Aid in an Institute for Challenging Disorganization teleclass, “Depression in the Elderly,” led by the pioneer Organizer Kit Anderson, Anderson Organizing. And tried signing up for a training that night. Well, a few weeks later…


I finished the free course on Friday, October 18, 2019. I’m grateful to my teachers at NAMI Eastside (National Alliance on Mental Illness). NAMI is “a community-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to improving the quality of life for those impacted by mental illness through advocacy, education, and support.”

I’m still regaining my balance. It brought up experiences of 30 years ago. The class extracts honesty from its participants. It mandates patience. It commands some real courage. There’s a textbook I still need to read, re-read and read again. Do I know I’m better prepared to help someone in crisis? I believe so. My sense of honesty dictates that I’m unsure unless I find myself successfully using these new tools.

But I intend to recertify every three years as required. If I am ever tested, I always want to be grounded.

Please investigate the class for yourself. It might give you some insight and techniques for interacting with a troubled neighbor, a co-worker in crisis, a family member.

About Lauren Williams

Lauren Williams, Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Virtual Professional Organizer®

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